"Revealing and little-known stories of the great Yankees Hall of Famer from the man who knew him best in the last ten years of his life"--
"Revealing and little-known stories of the great Yankees Hall of Famer from the man who knew him best in the last ten years of his life"--
The real Joe DiMaggio, remembered by one of the few who really knew the man behind the legend—candid and little-known stories about baseball icons from Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, and his Yankees teammates on the field to Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, and others off the field. As told by Dr. Rock Positano, DiMaggio’s closest confidante in New York during the final years of his life, Dinner with DiMaggio is an intimate portrait of one of America’s most enduring heroes. This memoir of a decade-long friendship reveals the very private DiMaggio as he really was—sometimes demanding, sometimes big-hearted, always impeccable, loyal, and a true stand-up guy—while serving up illuminating stories and rare insights about the people in his life, including his teammates, Muhammad Ali, Sandy Koufax, Woody Allen, and more. In 1990, Dr. Rock Positano, the thirty-two-year-old foot and ankle specialist, was introduced to DiMaggio, the pair brought together by a career-ending heal spur injury. Though Dr. Positano was forty years younger, an unlikely friendship developed after the doctor successfully treated the baseball champ’s heel. At the start, Joe mentored Rock but came to rely on his young friend to show him a good time in New York, the town that made him a legend. In time, the famously reserved DiMaggio opened up to Dr. Positano and talked about his joys, his disappointments, and his sorrows as he reflected on his extraordinary life. The stories and experiences shared with Dr. Positano comprise an intimate portrait of one of the great stars of baseball and icon of the twentieth century.
Streak vividly and poignantly tells the story of "Joltin' Joe" DiMaggio's legendary fifty-six-game hitting streak and the last golden summer of baseball before America was engulfed by the maelstrom of the Second World War. That long-lost summer also witnessed other unforgettable events: Ted Williams's quest to bat 400 and Lefty Grove's pursuit of his three-hundredth victory; a sizzling, epic race between the Dodgers and the Cardinals for the National League pennant; and Mickey Owen's infamous passed ball in the fourth game of the World Series. Featuring complete box scores for each game, Streak showcases DiMaggio's crowning achievement, commemorates a baseball season like no other, and invites us to an America in the last moments of its innocence.
Joe DiMaggio was, at every turn, one man we could look at who made us feel good. In the hard-knuckled thirties, he was the immigrant boy who made it big—and spurred the New York Yankees to a new era of dynasty. He was Broadway Joe, the icon of elegance, the man who wooed and won Marilyn Monroe—the most beautiful girl America could dream up. Joe DiMaggio was a mirror of our best self. And he was also the loneliest hero we ever had. In this groundbreaking biography, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Richard Ben Cramer presents a shocking portrait of a complicated, enigmatic life. The story that DiMaggio never wanted told, tells of his grace—and greed; his dignity, pride—and hidden shame. It is a story that sweeps through the twentieth century, bringing to light not just America's national game, but the birth (and the price) of modern national celebrity.
In this lively chronicle of the creation of the Baltimore Orioles' new stadium, Richmond interweaves baseball history and hardball politics, architecture and the structure ot sports in the '90s to tell a tale as filled with tussles, turmoil, and triumphs as baseball itself.
“Hammerin’” Hank Greenberg was coming off a stellar season where he’d hit 40 home runs and 184 RBIs, becoming only the thirteenth player to ever hit 40 or more homers (and one of only four players to have 40 or more home runs and 175 or more RBIs in a season). Even with his success at the plate, neither Greenberg nor the rest of the world could have expected what was about to happen in 1938. From his first day in the big leagues, the New York-born Greenberg had dealt with persecution for being Jewish. From teammate Jo-Jo White asking where his horns were to the verbal abuse from bigoted fans and the media, the 6-foot-3 slugger always did his best to shut the noise out and concentrate on baseball. But in 1938, that would be more difficult then he could have ever imagined. While Greenberg was battling at the plate, his people overseas were dealing with a completely different battle. Adolf Hitler, who had been chancellor of Germany since 1933, had taken direct control of the country’s military in February of ’38. He then began his methodic takeover of all neighboring countries, spreading Nazism and the early stages of World War II and the Holocaust. Hank Greenberg in 1938 chronicles the events of 1938, both on the baseball diamond and the streets of Europe. As Greenberg’s bat had him on course for Babe Ruth’s home run record, Hitler’s “Final Solution” was beginning to take shape. Jews across the US, worried about the issues overseas, looked to Greenberg as a symbol of hope. Though normally hesitant to speak about the anti-Semitism he dealt with, the slugger still knew the role he was playing for so many of his people, saying “I came to feel that if I, as a Jew, hit a home run, I was hitting one against Hitler.”
On July 4, 1939, Gehrig delivered what has been called "baseball's Gettysburg Address" at Yankee Stadium. There is, for now, no known, intact film of Gehrig's speech, but instead, just a swatch of the newsreel footage has survived, incorporating his opening and closing remarks: "For the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth," the last line, of course, having become one of the most famous, invoked, and inspiring, ever, anywhere. The New York Times account, the following day, called it "one of the most touching scenes ever witnessed on a ball field", that made even hard-boiled reporters "swallow hard." The scene and the story would likely have been largely lost to history, altogether, were it not for the film, Pride of the Yankees, best known for Gary Cooper, as the dying Lou Gehrig, movingly describing himself as "the luckiest man on the face of the earth," even as his body was being ravaged by the disease that was soon named after him. Here, now, in IRON HERO: Pride of the Yankees and the Legend of Lou Gehrig by Richard Sandomir, New York Times sports columnist, is, for the first time, the full story behind the pioneering, seminal movie. Filled with larger than life characters and unexpected facts, Iron Hero shows us how Samuel Goldwyn had no desire to making a baseball film but he was persuaded to make a quick deal with Lou's widow, Eleanor, not long after Gehrig had passed; Hollywood icon Cooper had zero knowledge of baseball and had to be taught to play; unknown parts of the screen treatment and screenplay that will be written about for the first time; and dishy letters to Eleanor from Christy Walsh, the pioneering business manager who represented the Gehrigs, from the Los Angeles set. Nostalgic, breezy and fun, IRON HERO captures a lost time in film and sports history.
Rare is the athlete who captures the imagination of a generation. In Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle, sports culture had two such figures. Undoubtedly, DiMaggio and Mantle are two of the most revered names in baseball literature. However, there is one particular moment that has been overlooked by baseball historians and writers: the 1951 pennant-winning New York Yankees team—DiMaggio's last year and Mantle's rookie season. For that one year, the paths of these two baseball icons converged, the naissance of Mantle's career poignantly juxtaposed with the slow descent of DiMaggio's final season. Strangers in the Bronx is more than a chronicle of a pennant-winning team, it is also a study of heroes: the decline of an all-too mortal American icon and the emergence of the newest sensation in sport.
From San Francisco to the Ginza in Tokyo, Lefty O’Doul relates the untold story of one of baseball’s greatest hitters, most colorful characters, and the unofficial father of professional baseball in Japan. Lefty O’Doul (1897–1969) began his career on the sandlots of San Francisco and was drafted by the Yankees as a pitcher. Although an arm injury and his refusal to give up the mound clouded his first four years, he converted into an outfielder. After four Minor League seasons he returned to the Major Leagues to become one of the game’s most prolific power hitters, retiring with the fourth-highest lifetime batting average in Major League history. A self-taught “scientific” hitter, O’Doul then became the game’s preeminent hitting instructor, counting Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams as his top disciples. In 1931 O’Doul traveled to Japan with an All-Star team and later convinced Babe Ruth to headline a 1934 tour. By helping to establish the professional game in Japan, he paved the way for Hideo Nomo, Ichiro Suzuki, and Hideki Matsui to play in the American Major Leagues. O’Doul’s finest moment came in 1949, when General Douglas MacArthur asked him to bring a baseball team to Japan, a tour that MacArthur later praised as one of the greatest diplomatic efforts in U.S. history. O’Doul became one of the most successful managers in the Pacific Coast League and was instrumental in spreading baseball’s growth and popularity in Japan. He is still beloved in Japan, where in 2002 he was inducted into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame.
Culled from 50 years' worth of columns from one of the country's most popular sportswriters, It Happens Every Spring stands as a remarkable and evocative anthology that is guaranteed to delight baseball fans of all ages. Former New York Times columnist Ira Berkow captures the spirit of America's pasttime in this collection of opinions, stories, and observations from his long and distinguished career. From memories of Ted Williams and Satchel Paige to reflections on Jackie Robinson, Barry Bonds, and the soul of the beloved game, this work combines Berkow's eye for detail with the comedy and drama revealed by the subjects themselves, bringing to life some of the most famous baseball personalities from the last half century.
In this candid, revealing, and entertaining memoir, the beloved New York Yankee legend looks back over his nearly fifty-year career as a player and a manager, sharing insights and stories about some of his most memorable moments and some of the biggest names in Major League Baseball. For nearly five decades, Lou Piniella has been a fixture in Major League Baseball, as an outfielder with the legendary New York Yankees of the 1970s, and as a manager for five teams in both the American and National leagues. With respected veteran sportswriter Bill Madden, Piniella now reflects on his storied career, offering fans a glimpse of life on the field, in the dugout, and inside the clubhouse. Piniella speaks from the heart about his teams and his players, offering a detailed, up-close portrait of the Bronx Zoo’s raucous personalities such as Reggie Jackson and Catfish Hunter, as well as his close friendship with Thurman Munson and his unusual relationship with George Steinbrenner. He also delves deep into his post-Yankee experiences, from winning a World Series for the controversial owner of the Cincinnati Reds, Marge Schott, to transforming the perennial cellar-dwelling Seattle Mariners into one of the league’s best teams. Some of the game’s brightest stars are here: Ken Griffey Jr, Randy Johnson, and Alex Rodriguez, Piniella’s supremely talented and controversial protégé. Throughout his time in the majors, Piniella has witnessed MLB grow into a multi-billion-dollar business. Piniella reflects on those changes, voicing his highly critical opinions on a range of controversial subjects, including steroids. Hilarious and uproarious, filled with eight pages of photos, Lou brings into focus a man whose deeply rooted passion for baseball has defined his life.
A deeply stirring memoir of growing up in New York City's oldest Irish bar. McSorley's Old Ale House has been serving light and dark ale in New York City's East Village since 1854. Although a Supreme Court ruling forced them to allow women inside in the 1970s, many of the bar's quirks have been constant for over a century, down to the newspaper-covered walls, Houdini's handcuffs on display, the raw onions, and its sawdust-strewn floors. But it's not just the decorations and attitude that stayed the same, it's the people who work and drink there. Rafe Bartholomew's father has been a bartender there for 40 years, and since he was a young boy, Rafe has considered the bar a second home, doing odd jobs and chores for the staff until he was old enough to start slinging ales himself. It became the place he and his dad mourned his mom, and it remains the place in which they're closest. The stories that he has from his years at McSorley's--and the stories he heard from his father--are touching, humorous, crude, moving, and always authentically New York. TWO AND TWO is a memoir of place--both a bar and a city--but also of the community of people who make up one of the last vestiges of a world that is quickly vanishing, and a look inside a father-son relationship that asks questions about living up to our fathers' expectations, following in their footsteps, and growing up.
Yahoo’s lead baseball columnist offers an in-depth look at the most valuable commodity in sports—the pitching arm—and how its vulnerability to injury is hurting players and the game, from Little League to the majors. Every year, Major League Baseball spends more than $1.5 billion on pitchers—five times more than the salary of every NFL quarterback combined. Pitchers are the game’s lifeblood. Their import is exceeded only by their fragility. One tiny band of tissue in the elbow, the ulnar collateral ligament, is snapping at unprecedented rates, leaving current big league players vulnerable and the coming generation of baseball-playing children dreading the three scariest words in the sport: Tommy John surgery. Jeff Passan traveled the world for three years to explore in-depth the past, present, and future of the arm, and how its evolution left baseball struggling to wrangle its Tommy John surgery epidemic. He examined what compelled the Chicago Cubs to spend $155 million on one arm. He snagged a rare interview with Sandy Koufax, whose career was cut short by injury at thirty, and visited Japan to understand how another baseball-mad country treats its prized arms. And he followed two major league pitchers, Daniel Hudson and Todd Coffey, throughout their returns from Tommy John surgery. He exposes how the baseball establishment long ignored the rise in arm injuries and reveals how misplaced incentives across the sport stifle potential changes. Injuries to the UCL start as early as Little League. Without a drastic cultural shift, baseball will continue to lose hundreds of millions of dollars annually to damaged pitchers, and another generation of children will suffer the same problems that vex current players. Informative and hard-hitting, The Arm is essential reading for everyone who loves the game, wants to keep their children healthy, or relishes a look into how a large, complex institution can fail so spectacularly.
One of America's most acclaimed writers and journalists, Gay Talese has been fascinated by sports throughout his life. At age fifteen he became a sports reporter for his Ocean City High School newspaper; four years later, as sports editor of the University of Alabama's Crimson-White, he began to employ devices more common in fiction, such as establishing a "scene" with minute details-a technique that would later make him famous. Later, as a sports reporter for the New York Times, Talese was drawn to individuals at poignant and vulnerable moments rather than to the spectacle of sports. Boxing held special appeal, and his Esquire pieces on Joe Louis and Floyd Patterson in decline won praise, as would his later essay "Ali in Havana," chronicling Muhammad Ali's visit to Fidel Castro. His profile of Joe DiMaggio, "The Silent Season of a Hero," perfectly captured the great player in his remote retirement, and displayed Talese's journalistic brilliance, for it grew out of his on-the-ground observation of the Yankee Clipper rather than from any interview. More recently, Talese traveled to China to track down and chronicle the female soccer player who missed a penalty kick that would have won China the World Cup. Chronicling Talese's writing over more than six decades, from high school and college columns to his signature adult journalism- and including several never-before-published pieces (such as one on sports anthropology), a new introduction by the author, and notes on the background of each piece-The Silent Season of a Hero is a unique and indispensable collection for sports fans and those who enjoy the heights of journalism.
A journalist describes the struggle of a group of youngsters from a Chicago housing project and their white-collar coaches to triumph in Little League baseball, chronicling their journey from the first practice to the championship game. Reprint.